We have been on this wonderful journey of being foster parents for almost 3 months now. I can honestly say that it has already changed my life in so many ways. It has opened my eyes to so many things and opened my heart to so much more. Here are a few ways being a foster parent has changed my world:
- My eyes have been opened to the need. When we first started talking/praying about becoming foster parents, we didn’t realize how many children are in care. Especially in our area, there are about 900 kids that stay in the foster care system on average. There are only about 100 foster homes. That means that A LOT of kids are having to go to the Children’s Shelter, sleep in DHS offices, and get put in to overloaded foster homes. I’m so thankful God pointed us in this direction. When I think that we only have 2 out of those 900 kids, it doesn’t seem like much. But, thankfully they aren’t somewhere dangerous and we have the opportunity to give them a safe, warm, loving home. If more people would see the NEED and actually answer the call, God would faithfully provide the strength. I’m praying more people realize this.
- I see what I could’ve been. I’ve always felt strongly that if the Lord didn’t save me when He did, my life would be a wretched mess or I’d be dead. I know the Lord graciously rescued me from the damage that sin could’ve brought upon my life. When I see and hear what our babies’ bio moms are doing with their lives, I think “That could’ve been me”. I could’ve so easily ended up in the same situation had it not been the Lord breaking me down and saving my soul when He did. Fostering has taught me to have compassion on these women, because I see what I could’ve been in them. And, I see that all they need is God. I pray that, somehow, I can show them Him.
- I’ve gotten stronger. Not physically (well, maybe a little from carrying around a couple of 12 lb. babies). But, I’ve gotten stronger in the Lord. I’ve found my source of strength is in Him and I’ve had to tap into that more than a few times. When I think I just can’t do this anymore and I can’t face whatever lies ahead, the Lord gives me a verse or a song or a sermon, and it just carries me through. There is nothing easy about being a foster parent and that has become more obvious to me in recent days. So, that’s why I’m really thankful for this verse from 2 Corinthians 12:9: “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. ” So very true.
- I pray more. This is kind of a given. There’s a bajillon more things to pray about now that we’ve added a couple of sweet babies to our life. In the middle of the night, when one of them isn’t feeling well, I’m crying out to the Lord to touch their little body. I pray for upcoming court hearings, doctor appointments, visits with mom, etc. Sometimes, my heart hurts and I just cry with no words. However it comes out, there’s definitely an increase in my prayer life since becoming a foster parent.
- I’m becoming more patient. Well, this is still a work in progress. But, I feel like I’m doing much better! There is just so much waiting that comes with fostering. Waiting for the next court hearing, waiting to hear from caseworkers, waiting…waiting…waiting… I’ve never liked waiting for anything and it is still difficult for me at times. But, the Lord is helping me day by day. I never asked for patience, but I guess the Lord thought I needed more of it! He’s definitely teaching me patience through this experience.
- I’ve had to get out of my head. This one has been the hardest change for me. I’m such a planner and try to figure everything out on my own. I don’t like it when I don’t know what is going on. When I don’t have a plan, I start thinking of all the ways things could go wrong. I think up all the worst scenarios and end up feeling really down and out of control. It’s something I’ve had to work on for a long time because it does cause me to not completely trust in God. I foolishly think that I know best and try to work out my own plans. I’m constantly having to remind myself that “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).” In my heart, I know the Lord has a perfect plan for my life, but my head wants to know that plan right now. This past Sunday, my pastor preached a sermon that really hit home. He used this scripture in 2 Chronicles 20:17, “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you”. One of things that he said was, “Stop trying to fight this battle on your own. Get out of the way. Be still. Let God work.” I had been trying so hard to figure things out on my own. When you are foster parent, you sometimes forget that these kids aren’t “yours”. Sometimes we start planning vacations, birthdays, holidays, etc. Then I think, we may not still have them then. And, I get a little depressed. My pastor’s sermon was a reminder that God has this all under control. I don’t need to jump ahead of Him. I just need to be still and let Him work in His way and time.
All in all, I feel like being a foster parent has changed me for the better. It has grown my relationship with the Lord and taught me things about myself. One thing that I’ll always be thankful for throughout this whole process, is that God does not change. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. We can always count on Him.